Recovering data from corrupted iPod


Q: My iPod would freeze sometimes after I tried to advance to the next song. This problem was usually solved by letting my iPod die out and recharge it. Today when I went to re-charge my iPod, I turned it on, and ALL of my music was gone. This wouldn’t be so tragic if it wasn’t for the fact that my hard drive recently crashed and my iPod was my only source of music. I was actually about to sign on line to figure out how to transfer the music from my iPod to my computer when tragedy struck! The version of number of my iPod is 3.1.1 Model: M9282LL. PLEASE HELP!

– Shya


A: Depending on what actually happened to your iPod, there is a chance that the music files are still in fact there, particularly if you’re still seeing the normal iPod menus with no actual content (as opposed to some other error condition).

The iPod indexes your music using a database, and when you browse the content on your iPod, either from the iPod screen or even via iTunes, you’re actually looking at this database, rather than browsing through the files themselves.

Naturally, if this database gets erased or corrupted, it may show that there is nothing on the iPod, even though the underlying music files are actually all still there.

You can check this by looking at the About menu item on your iPod (it’s normally found under the Settings menu), and see how much space your iPod says is available. If there’s still space being taken up, chances are it’s your music files that are occupying that space.

In this case, you should be able to connect your iPod to your computer without letting iTunes synchronize anything, and then recover your music by browsing to the hidden “iPod_Control” directory on your iPod via Windows Explorer or Finder.

For more detailed instructions on how to do this, check out our article on Copying Content from your iPod to your Computer—specifically the section near the beginning on the “Brute Force Approach.”

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Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.